Last Friday, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled in favor of marriage equality in all 50 states. SCOTUS held that states are required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and that marriages performed in other states must be recognized. Essentially, the court ruled that marriage is a constitutional right. In the words of Justice Kennedy, “They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.” Same-sex couples can now enjoy the 1,318 benefits of marriage nationwide.
Within minutes of the decision, a couple in Texas applied for their marriage license. The White House changed its Facebook and Twitter pictures donning Pride colors in support of the decision. Many companies followed suit, including Univision. Celebrities tweeted and posted their congratulatory reactions.
I don’t need to tell you that this is indeed a historic verdict. This decision is added on to the fall of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) in 2013 and the 2003 victory of Lawrence v. Texas, where the Supreme Court struck down laws that criminalized same-sex relationships. This month, as we celebrate Gay Pride, we have yet one more reason to celebrate: greater equality has come to our nation for the LGBT community. We no longer have a patchwork of laws that cause undue burden. Now, when it comes to marriage, we are equal under the law.
While this is a major step forward, there is still much to be done on a number of issues, including passing laws on a national level that protect people from being fired due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Four justices and about 40% of the American people disagree with the outcome of Friday’s ruling. It is now our responsibility to show that while we are different, we are most certainly equal.
As a company, Univision Communications Inc. (UCI) has a special, longstanding commitment to empower, educate and advocate for its audience. This responsibility extends to the many LGBT members that count themselves among the UCI community. As part of our efforts, last year UCI launched Orgullo@UCI, an internal employee resource group. Inspired by UCI’s One for All ideal, Orgullo organizes LGBT coworkers and allies to champion the LGBTA Hispanic community both within the Company and in the Hispanic community at large. As this year’s Pride month comes to a close, UCI reaffirms its year-round commitment to this cause by taking stock of internal and external accomplishments past and challenges ahead.
UCI’s entertainment and news programming offer stages to promote accurate representations of LGBT Latinos in Hispanic media. Univision’s LGBT programming has been well documented, most clearly in the nominations for the 26th Annual GLAAD Awards this past May. The ten nominations spanned across programming slots and media, from daytime programs like La Rosa de Guadalupe, to news segments on Despierta América and Noticiero Univision; from local TV segments in Los Angeles and Puerto Rico, to multimedia journalism on Univision.com.
“Identidad Sin Fronteras,” which aired on Univision in December 2014, received a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Documentary. The project by young journalist Isabel Castro depicts some of the challenges three transgender Mexican immigrants face in Los Angeles, and it has received fervent praise for bringing this important issue to light. Another special on Univision this past April also marked a milestone. This special edition of Univision’s acclaimed newsmagazine Aquí y Ahora, entitled “En Cuerpo Ajeno” (In Another Body), presented the gripping and inspiring stories of four transgender individuals over the course of a year, yielding an amazing hour-long program.
And just earlier this month, Sábado Gigante, a mainstay of UCI programming for over 50 years – one which has never shied away from addressing LGBT issues – celebrated Father’s Day by interviewing a gay couple raising triplets. Don Francisco met the topic with a balanced calm and posed questions that understood audience hesitation but remained firm on the need of open discussion and acceptance.
Finally, through Orgullo@UCI, Univision employees participated in more Pride parades than ever this year, with spirited showings at parades and festivals in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami Beach, Chicago, Phoenix and Philadelphia.
There is still much work to be done on many fronts, and working alongside our LGBT partners, UCI will be there, as it always has been in the past, to continue to empower, educate and advocate for all members of the Hispanic community.